What’s Wrong With My Tree? Tip Blight of Austrian Pines

Tip Blight Is A Destructive Fungal Disease Of Pines

Sphaeropsis tip blight of pines, also known as diplodia tip blight, is caused by the fungus, Sphaeropsis sapinea. This fungal disease is highly destructive of pines and overwinters in the infected shoots, bark, and seed cones of pine trees. The most commonly affected pine in our region is Austrian pine.  This pine is easy to identify as its one of the few in our area with very thick and stout needles. In the spring, the fruiting bodies of the fungus (pycnidia) burst open and are spread via wind, animals, and splashing water.

Signs And Symptoms Of Sphaeropsis Tip BlightSphaeropsis tip blight of pines

The spores of sphaeropsis tip blight can infect without causing symptoms at first. Over the years the following symptoms can appear:

  • Browning needles
  • Needle death
  • Resin droplets on dead shoots
  • The appearance of pycnidia on the base of the needle in the fall
  • Tree disfigurement and dieback as the disease progresses

Managing Sphaeropsis Tip Blight

Keeping your pine trees healthy and getting an ISA Certified Arborist to inspect your trees is an efficient way to manage tip blight in your pines. You can keep the disease under control by removing and destroying all infected cones and other green waste during dry weather. Garden tools should always be sanitized after use. If your pines are dead or dying, replace them with resistant varieties like white pine, spruce, or juniper.

Fungicidal sprays are an effective method of treatment for tip blight and should always be applied by a professional.

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